By Michelle Gillan Larkin
I like to go outside my comfort zone every now and then, and that includes visiting a farmers market that is not “my own.” Sounds simple enough, but for this creature of habit, it’s a stretch (and feels a little like cheating). So, with hubby and six-year-old at my side, I stopped by the New Rochelle Grand Market on a recent Saturday morning.
The first thing I noticed was this market was not as big as my usual, but the intimate setup on a grassy square seemed to beckon “c’mon in, it’s cozy here.” The vendors had warm, friendly smiles for us and each other, and good foodie cheer abounded.
My nose picked up the scent of something baked so we made a beeline for the stand offering Middle Eastern delights. We gobbled a batch of homemade bourekas, which are these melt-in-your-mouth triangles of puff pastry stuffed with spinach and feta. We planned on bringing a bagful home; they never even made it to the car.
We were about to check out the artisanal cheeses and organic maple syrup when my son noticed a life-sized chess board on the green behind us, along with a towering game of Connect Four. He was off like a shot, followed by my kid-at-heart husband, leaving me to peruse the rest of the market by myself and at my own pace (score!).
I decided to peek at the produce to see how it would stack up against the fresh fruits and veggies I’m accustomed to. I picked a nice bunch of kale for $2, just like usual, and some really red strawberries. I couldn’t find my crisp butter lettuce, but did gather up three honking bulbs of the freshest smelling garlic ever.
I then discovered two things that stopped me in my tracks — a bountiful basket of eggs from heritage French guinea hens, and hard apple cider. I made a mad dash for, yep, the “juice,” figuring I’d let my little guy pick our eggs. I forced myself to try all three varietals, but my favorite was the one infused with lavender. They said it would have a calming effect, and indeed I felt very sedate, albeit quite bubbly.
I hiccuped and called for my son, who was now involved in a bean bag toss with a new friend. He tore himself away upon learning he’d get to choose the eggs we’d have for Sunday breakfast. He did a great job, as these turned out to be the richest-tasting scramblers I’ve ever eaten.
We didn’t have time to linger for the live music, so we grabbed a handful of cookies made with whole wheat flour while bidding farewell to this intimate, yet abundant farmers market. I left feeling particularly pleased with myself for stretching my soul even further than my stomach.
New Rochelle Grand Market, Library Green, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle; Saturdays, 9am to 2pm